The Exaltation of God’s Kingdom Isaiah 40-66, cont’d.
Isaiah 40-48 God is Sovereign over Those in His Kingdom, cont’d.
His Sovereignty is Seen in His Control of Cyrus Isaiah 45:1-25
Isaiah 45-In this chapter, the prominent theme that God continues to declare is that He and He alone is God...there is no other.
Isaiah 45:1-"anointed" is the Hebrew word "messiah"...meaning that God has chosen him to be a deliverer of His people. Cyrus is a type of Jesus: he is a temporal deliverer, and Jesus would be the eternal deliverer. Someone might ask how, and why, Cyrus would be called a “messiah”…
45:1 anointed. Lit., messiah (cf. Cyrus’ designation as shepherd in 44:28). This is an appropriate title for a heathen king for two reasons: Cyrus, as a temporal deliverer of God’s people, serves as an illustration of Jesus Christ, the eternal Redeemer; and, since vassal rulers were anointed by superior rulers, Cyrus, as one who carried out God's purposes, could properly be said to be an anointed vassal.
Ryrie Study Bible, footnote on Isaiah 45:1, p. 1079
Cyrus is also referred to as a shepherd in 44:28.
- Thus says the LORD to His anointed, to Cyrus: Isaiah carries on this remarkable prophecy from the previous chapter. In it, God announces - by name - the deliverer for His people from a coming captivity, and He does it 200 years before the man Cyrus is born.
- His anointed means that Cyrus had a particular anointing from God for his work. God poured out His Spirit on a pagan king, because God wanted to use that man to bless and deliver His people.
- "There is precedent for the divine anointing of a non-Israelite king, though in one passage only (1 Kings 19:15-16). Although the living God normally employed Israelites for such purposes, he is sovereign and may use whom he will." (Grogan)
iii. Thus says the LORD to His anointed means that this word was particularly directed to Cyrus. This was God's message to him, and Cyrus apparently listened. "These things Cyrus knew from reading the book of prophecy which Isaiah had left behind two hundred and ten years earlier." (Josephus, Antiquities XI, 5 [i.2], cited in Grogan)
- Whose right hand I have held: Like many of us, Cyrus could look back on his life and career and see how the LORD held his hand the entire time. To subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings: Cyrus had a remarkable military career.
- "To his appointed and enabled one, to subdue many nations. Xenophon, in his first book … gives us a list of them. Cyrus subdued, saith he, the Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappodcians, Phrygians, the Lydians, Carians, Phoenicians, Babylonians, the Bactrians, Indians, Cilicians, Sacians, Paphloagonians, Maryandines, and many other nations. He also had a dominion over the Asiatics, Greeks, Cyprians, Egyptians … He vanquished, saith Herodotus, whatever country soever he invaded." (Trapp)
- To open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut … I will break in pieces the gates of bronze: The armies of the Medes and Persians, under Cyrus, conquered the city of Babylon in a remarkable raid described in Daniel 5. According to the ancient historian Herodotus, while King Belshazzar of Babylon held a reckless party, Cyrus conquered the city by diverting the flow of the Euphrates into a nearby swamp; thus lowering the level of the river so his troops could march through the water and under the river-gates. But they still would not have been able to enter, had not the bronze gates of the inner walls been left inexplicably unlocked. God opened the gates of the city of Babylon for Cyrus, and put it in writing 200 years before it happened!
- "In October 539 B.C., Cyrus advanced into lower Mesopotamia and, leaving Babylon till last, conquered and occupied the surrounding territory. Seeing which way the wind was blowing, Nabonidus of Babylon deserted his city, leaving it in the charge of his son Belshazzar … the taking of Babylon was as bloodless and effortless as Daniel 6implies." (Motyer)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Isaiah 45,
Isaiah 45:2-8-God has demonstrated his sovereignty over all of the earth, all peoples, and all nations by choosing to use a pagan king who does not know Him (:4) to accomplish His will. God has done this for Israel's sake (:4) and it is also part of His revelation of Himself (:3,4,6-7).
Isaiah 45:9-10-God says that it is not good for the very people whom He created to question the choices that He makes concerning them.
Isaiah 45:11-13-God declares that it is His sovereign right to do whatever He chooses with Israel because He is the creator of all things and has determined their destiny. So, it is His sovereign right to choose to use Cyrus for His own purpose.
Isaiah 45:14-God tells Cyrus that he will conquer Egypt, Cush, and Sabea.
Isaiah 45:15-19-God again declares His sovereignty over all of the earth…basing it on the fact that He is its creator. This fact is not some well-kept secret…but is something that is evident to all people.
Isaiah 45:20-21-God tells them to let those who want to worship a false god to go do so. Their worship is vain because He is the only true God.
Isaiah 45:22-25-Ultimately, every person who has ever lived will recognize this fact and worship God.
His Sovereignty is Seen in His Judging of Babylon Isaiah 46:1-47:15
Isaiah 46:1-2-“Bel” was the Babylonian form of the god Baal. “Nebo” was the god of learning. The imagery of these two verses is of the statues, or images, of these two gods being “bowed down”, “stoops over”…meaning that they had been laid down across animals so that they could be carried away by the Babylonians when they were being led away into captivity by the Persian army. What a pitiful situation for a god! Tied onto the backs of beasts of burden…after all, they could not walk for themselves.
Isaiah 46:3-4-God tells the people that He will care for Israel from their beginning until their end…from their birth until their death.
Isaiah 46:5-7-God asks who could possibly be compared to Him. There is none. God again describes the process that people go through to make an idol of worship. He then says that once it is made all it can do is sit there, in one place. It cannot hear or respond to their cries.
Isaiah 46:8-11-God tells the people to remember their own past and how God had told them what would happen time and again, and it did so, just as He had said.
Isaiah 46:12-13-He tells them that they should be obedient to Him because it will not be long before He will restore His kingdom.
Isaiah 47:1-5-God tells the Babylonians what is going to happen to them in His judgment.
Isaiah 47:6-7-He says that He had used them to bring judgment on Israel...but they had far exceeded His intent and were bitterly cruel to them. They actually took credit for their victories, instead of giving God credit.
Isaiah 47:8-11-God tells Babylon that they have allowed their pride of what they think they know to deceive them into thinking that they are greater than anyone else, and that there is no one that they are accountable to. As a result, God is going to judge them.
Isaiah 47:12-15-God speaks of all the various ways that their religious leaders will try to stop Him..."charm away...spells...sorceries...counsels...prophesy by the stars, those who predict by the new moons". But, "There is none to save you." (:15).
Prayer: Father, my life is in Your hands. I confess that there are times when I do not understand why things happen. But no matter what they are…You are in control. There is nothing that You were not aware of…before it happened. There is nothing that You are not capable of handling…when it happens. You may not always change the circumstances that I am in. But, if I am obedient, You will change me in the circumstances that I am in. Help me to have faith and trust in You…regardless of the circumstances.